Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA)

What is Funeral Consumers Alliance?

Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) is a federation of nonprofit consumer information groups. They provide objective information on funerals, burials, and cremation so consumers can choose a funeral that fits their taste, philosophy, and budget.

They originally started as the Memorial Societies in the late 1930's during the Depression in response to the increasing cost of funerals. They now have more than 85 nonprofit funeral-planning groups across the United States and they continue to grow.

FCA is not affiliated with the funeral industry - they represent the consumer by keeping a close eye on the funeral industry. They are often referred to as "consumer watchdogs" monitoring abuses and supporting tough regulations to protect grieving consumers from unethical practices.

How to find a local Funeral Consumers Alliance Chapter

The National Funeral Consumers Alliance, based in Vermont, provides a list of local, mostly volunteer-run FCA chapters. The National office can be contacted directly via email or by phone at 802.865.8300 (EST).

What to expect from Funeral Consumers Alliance

Consumers receive accurate information on legal rights as a funeral consumer and tips for planning ahead - including information on caring for your own dead without using a funeral director. They work directly with consumers and advocate for them on a national level.

Working directly with the consumer, FCA will:

  • Distribute pamphlets and newsletters
  • Refer consumers to local memorial and funeral planning societies
  • Direct consumers to local and regulatory agencies
  • Provide price surveys of local mortuaries and cemeteries (most chapters)
  • Negotiate discounts at participating funeral homes (some chapters)

As a consumer advocate, FCA represents the consumer's interest by:

  • Monitoring funeral industry trends and practices nationally
  • Pushing for legal and regulatory reform
  • Exposing abuses
  • Giving advice on (or lobbying for) changes locally, state-wide, and nationally
  • Serving as a credible source of information for media covering death and dying
  • Facilitating communication between local FCA chapters

What does it cost to become a member of Funeral Consumers Alliance?

FCA's national headquarters is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. They ask for voluntary donations, but never restrict help based on ability to pay. Their website offers hundreds of articles, newsletters, tip sheets, and blog posts with information free to the public.

Local FCA chapters are also nonprofit and most chapters are run by volunteers. They will answer questions by phone and email to the extent practical for local volunteers. Initial membership contributions range from $25 to $50. New members receive a packet with funeral planning forms and the local organization's latest price survey. Members also receive the local chapter's news bulletin.

To make a tax-deductible donation to the Funeral Consumers Alliance, consider becoming a Friend of FCA or become a member of a local chapter.

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Final Rights
By Joshua Slocum and Lisa Carlson
Joshua Slocum